taman hutan – Chapter One: The Birth of the Garden

taman hutan by ila is a film that traces the history of the colonial garden in Singapore through four chapters and looks at how the presence of the garden have shaped human relationships with nature. Addressing capital, exploitation and control, taman hutan is a provocation to reconsider these relationships and histories in the midst of environmental and climate crises.

Chapter One: The Birth of the Garden begins with media headlines that charts Singapore’s move into a biophilic city in nature in the last two years since the pandemic. From the planting of 1 million trees to the increase in otter attacks, these strangely contradicting and humorous encounters juxtapose the origins of the colonial garden and it’s evolution over the years.

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ila (b.1985, Singapore) is a visual and performance artist whose intimate works incorporate objects, moving images and live performance. Through weaving imagined narratives into existing realities, she seeks to create alternative nodes of experience and entry points into the peripheries of the unspoken, the tacit and the silenced. Using her body as a space of tension, negotiation and confrontation, her works generate discussion about gender, history and identity in relation to pressing contemporary issues. She has shown at DECK (2021), National Gallery Singapore (2020), The Substation; NTU Centre for Contemporary Art among others.